Empire TV Tycoon, Developed by Dreamsite Games, a small Indie studio based in Madrid, has recently been released on Steam for £9.99.
In Empire TV Tycoon, it is your job to make your television channel the most popular and successful channel for the failing Empire TV Station. You will create the schedules, select the adverts that play in between each show, and the marketing campaign to advertise your channel.
You will have 30 days to make your channel the best one at the station. This is done by accumulating 300 fame points, with each successful show and awards ceremony win you are awarded points.
At the start of each game, you will select your channel colour (Red, Blue, Green) and name your character. This has no effect on any choices you make in the game, other than the colour of your channel floors and clothing your character wears.
The Empire TV building has 13 floors.
Each channel has 3 floors for them to work with:
The Players Office: Here you will plan your schedule, decide what adverts to play at which times, and work out your marketing schedules.
The Workers Office: Here is where the staff you hire will work from, these include Marketing Managers to organise your marketing campaigns, Production Assistants to assist with the movies that you make, Scriptwriters to write the scripts for your movies and TV shows, Public Relations to help hire bigger stars for your movies & Hackers to help cover your illegal movie broadcasts.
The Players Studio: Here you will produce your own shows and movies. A successful show will need a good script and the best stars you can hire to perform in it, after selecting your actors you will need to distribute points into various sections, want the production to have great special effects? Pump the points into post production. Want better costume design? Put more points in there, and so on.
As your television show or movie is being made you will be notified of various situations affecting the production. A company may offer some products to use in the shooting, an actor may develop a substance problem and need therapy, your actors may have a falling out and its up to you to fix the problem, or even a group of mafia reviewers who will want a bribe to not give your film a bad review. Your choices in resolving each issue boil down to saying yes or no to a response and the result will have a small effect on the production.
There is also the Technology area where you can purchase your channel upgrades, these include expanding your workers area so you can hire more staff, upgrading your satellite to increase your audience reach, upgrading your studio to have higher production costs and many more. Of course to access the upgrades you will need money and enough fame points.
The Advertising area is where you can take new adverts, each set of adverts has their own viewing requirements before paying out, if you meet the viewing figure requirement you are rewarded. If you do not you will be penalized so you won’t want to take on high paying adverts until you are certain you can meet the requirements.
The Movie library is where you will buy and sell your TV shows and movies. You will want to keep your library fresh as your audience will only tolerate repeats for so long.
At the top of the building is the restaurant, here you will find the loan sharks. If you ever find yourself short of money, these are the guys to visit. Although if you can’t pay them back you better not be too fond of your kneecaps!
Another slightly shady character hangs out behind the building, the illegal movie seller. You can visit this fellow to “acquire” some of the biggest movies not yet released, the downside being that if you are caught playing an illegal movie you will be fined for it.
The station day runs from 2 pm till 3 am, with the schedule divided into blocks. You will have early morning and late night slots, these are the low audience slots for the day, and your prime time slots between 20:00 – 22:00 this is where you want to place your biggest and best shows.
Half the fun is trying to work out what will appeal to your audience, they consist of men, women, children, the elderly, couples, athletes and geeks.
While kids may love the comedy show you’re planning to schedule, the elderly will probably hate it, and the Westerns they love will put off the women and athletes.. you have to work out what will appeal to the masses at that particular time slot.
Occasionally you will find one of your reporters waiting for you in the building entrance. Sending them out to cover special events, festivals, alien invasion or hostage rescues will produce a special one-off television event show. You have access to this show for a limited time, so again you need to work out the best slot for it to go into.
With its catchy soundtrack and lovely simple graphics, Empire TV Tycoon is a fun little game to play, it is surprisingly in depth for a casual simulation game, and has a habit of kicking your ass if you let yourself get complacent with your schedules.
It is also full of little Easter eggs ranging from the movie seller who looks like Breaking Bad’s Heisenberg, the illegal movie seller who bears a passing resemblance to Clerks Silent Bob.
If you are fond of management simulation games, you will enjoy Empire TV Tycoon.
Easy to learn
Scratches that management game itch
Can get repetitive
Can get confusing at times